Call for tougher rules after six diving deaths
MELBOURNE • The Australian diving authorities are calling for tougher standards, including medical check-ups for older divers, after six snorkelling and scuba diving deaths in a week.
Australian Underwater Federation president Graham Henderson told the Guardian that some diving courses are minimalist.
Three tourists have died while diving since last Wednesday, while three Australian divers have also died since then.
All priests able to forgive abortion: Pope
VATICAN CITY • Pope Francis said yesterday that all priests will be able to forgive abortion, making permanent a temporary measure he had put in place for the Vatican's jubilee year.
He declared on Sunday as he ended jubilee celebrations that abortion was "a horrendous crime", but said in an apostolic letter that there is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach and wipe away.
Low-risk flu found, Germany to cull geese
HAMBURG • The German authorities are preparing to cull 8,800 geese on farms in the north of the country where a low-risk strain of bird flu has been found, the state of Schleswig-Holstein said yesterday.
The contagious H5N8 strain has been found in wild birds in much of Germany, leading to government warnings that it may order poultry to be kept inside.
Countries, including Hungary, Austria, Denmark and Israel have found H5N8 bird flu in the past few weeks.
Netanyahu under fire over submarine deal
JERUSALEM • A deal to buy three German-made submarines is under fire in Israel after its media discovered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's personal lawyer represents the local agent of the German conglomerate set to build the vessels.
Both Mr Netanyahu and his lawyer, Mr David Shimron, have denied any impropriety, and the shipbuilder, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, has denied any contractual connection with the lawyer.
But opposition legislators have called for a parliamentary inquiry.